circa 1800

Tekkai sennin cradles his chin in his hand as he gazes up to the sky in a contemplative fashion. He rests his elbow on his right hand, which in turn rests on a gnarled staff. One foot is raised slightly as he twists his upper body to the right. He wears a mugwort cape and mugwort girdle over his simple robes, a small gourd tied at his waist. His long hair and beard hang down in straggly strands. Details are enhanced with black sumi-e stain.

Tekkai Sennin (Ch. Li Tieguai) is one of the Eight Immortals associated with Daoism. He was able to exhale his soul and leave his body to travel for extended periods. On one occasion he left his body in the care of a disciple, but on the 6th day the disciple’s mother died and he had to return home, so burnt the sennin’s body before his departure. Tekkai finally returned to find his human form gone, so was forced instead to enter the body of an emaciated corpse found by the roadside. He is generally associated with medicine, his gourd signifiying his ability to transcend his earthly being in order to tend to the sick

Height: 8.7cm

Michael Tomkinson collection

Joly, Henri L., Legend in Japanese Art, 1908, p. 510
Weber, V-F, Koji Hoten, 1923, Vol. II, pl. LXII

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